Bowman communication system

#1
With the Bowman programme spending huge sums (£300 million) extra on software
plus an extra (£96 million) on upgrades and software, I am sure there are good reasons
for this, particularly from the contractors point of view.
As the main bearer of the tactical communications system on the HF side can only work
8 miles in dry desert conditions due to the fact that the wrong antennas were delivered
for the Bowman HF radio this seems like a very extravagant waste of public funds.
I am sure our communications officers understand the basics of communications
first you have to have the bearer system in place to carry the data, no use spending £300 million
on additional software if you do not have the means to pass the info. Currently this is not possible if
the vehicle is in the skip zone. The vehicle also looses the ability to use the vehicle protection system
IFF to protect against friendly fire once in the skip zone as this information is passed over the HF radio.
The antennas specified in the Bowman specification would have allowed comms into and through the
skipzone, the contractor did not deliver.
So Bowman has the same HF antenna technology as it's predecessor, Clansman, with the same shortfalls. It is not a radio problem and it never was a radio problem, it was always an antenna problem and it always will be until the senior comms decision makers get off the fence and look to the solution which was pointed out to them 3 years ago.
Bowman HF as I have been pointing out to the MOD, the Signals Corps and the Bowman team
has the wrong antennas. I do believe that they are finally waking up to this fact and starting
to ask the right questions, Three years late and £3 billion pounds spent and they appear to be having
a re-think.
Rumours coming out of the battle zone are that the Bowman HF radio is not even as good as
Clansman this may or may not be true, put the right antennas on the HF Bowman vehicular radio
and it will, trust me, be a world beater. I have done it, proved it, and tried to educate the Signal Corps, the MOD and it's Bowman team.
I am now long retired, but still hate to see what could be a first class Radio system being spoilt for the sake of the correct HF antenna system, which by my calculations would cost a very small fraction of all this high cost software. Get the basics right gentlemen and the rest will fall into line.

Waterlooville.
 
#2
Waterlooville - Do you by any chance own a company that makes antennas ?
 
#3
floppyjocky said:
Waterlooville - Do you by any chance own a company that makes antennas ?
Floppy Jockey,
No I do not own a company that makes antennas. But I do continue to follow the
Bowman programme, and have seen the mistakes being made.

Do you by any chance work for the Bowman team, or MOD or the Signal Corps if
you do perhaps you can explain to me why these organisations have been unable
to deny my claims in the letters I have had from the DPA, the Signal Corps
or the Bowman team.

My projection of this antenna "oversight" is well tabulated in other articles within the
MOD Oracle.

My experience came some years ago when because of my background in HF communications
I was asked to assist in some trials being conducted by the company who
make the Bowman HF radio, these trials proved extremely successful, so much so that the
Radio manufacturer now offers the new antenna system as standard. The Signal corps where
given copies of the trials results, but did not understand the technology. Incidently they still
do not understand that with the new technology, you can put an HF antenna on a vehicle,
drive it for 1000 miles in any terrain, and maintain communications on the move, the antenna
is low profile and looks like a bent whip. But that is were the similarity ends.

Just for your information, this means that the biggest barrier to HF communications (the Skip
Zone or Silent zone) does not exist any more. So five years ago, the greatest breakthrough
in HF communications since Marconi discovered Radio transmission, took place. The Bowman
specification called up for these NVIS (Near Vertical Incidence Skywave) antennas. The
contractor delivered bog standard 50 year old technology whips.

The result of being able to get your comms out of the skip zone means that incidents like the
friendly fire incidents and the lack of communications highlighted by the inquiry in the tragic
RMP incidents will be greatly reduced. It is of particular importance in todays Bowman programme
because the IFF system which is designed to prevent incidents of friendly fire, is carried over
the HF system. With the satallite GPS signal being recieved in the vehicle and that GPS info
being passed over to control via the HF.

So the benefits of using the correct system as envisaged by those far sighted people who
wrote the Bowman specification, is of the highest priority in my eyes, the fact that the spec
has not been met is bordering on stupidity.

Finally if I owned an antenna company, I would not be wasting my time responding to your
comment. I would be parading outside the Signals HQ with my banner flying.

Waterlooville.
 
#4
Waterlooville said:
As the main bearer of the tactical communications system on the HF side can only work
8 miles in dry desert conditions due to the fact that the wrong antennas were delivered.
OPSEC precludes details but suffice to say the effective working range of BOWMAN HF in IRAQ is significantly greater than 8km.

Waterlooville said:
Rumours coming out of the battle zone are that the Bowman HF radio is not even as good as
Clansman this may or may not be true, put the right antennas on the HF Bowman vehicular radio
and it will, trust me, be a world beater. I have done it, proved it, and tried to educate the Signal Corps, the MOD and it's Bowman team.
Ah rumours.... :roll:

Waterlooville said:
Just for your information, this means that the biggest barrier to HF communications (the Skip
Zone or Silent zone) does not exist any more. So five years ago, the greatest breakthrough
in HF communications since Marconi discovered Radio transmission, took place. The Bowman
specification called up for these NVIS (Near Vertical Incidence Skywave) antennas. The
contractor delivered bog standard 50 year old technology whips.
NVIS appeared five years ago? So what about the NVIS antennas (and techniques) I was using back in the late 1980's?


Waterlooville said:
It is of particular importance in todays Bowman programme
because the IFF system which is designed to prevent incidents of friendly fire, is carried over
the HF system. With the satallite GPS signal being recieved in the vehicle and that GPS info
being passed over to control via the HF.
The "IFF" system is not carried over the HF system in BOWMAN. There is no IFF system in BOWMAN. IFF systems rely on an interrogator/ responder system between platforms. Blue force Situational Awareness info is carried over whatever the appropriate bearer is at the time.

Waterlooville said:
Signal Corps
Who calls the Royal Signals (AKA Scalies AKA Beeps) the Signal Corps?
 
#8
I love all those people who slag off the Corps. Even I have had the odd attack or two . Don’t give a toss now...

We are great, why?


Because ... 25.0.0.0 – 25.255.255.255


Give that man a medal.
 
#10
I don't see what the trouble is. I mean we didn't even need Clansman. We already had a decent working radio system in place and were communicating fine around all four Armoured Divisions and the 1(BR) Corps area with Larkspur. C42s (C45 for the artillery because their 'bandwidth' as you'd call it now was special) on VHF and C11s on HF. You could talk to each other. The VHF could work in secure. The HF even worked a form of 'digital communications' known in it's day as morse.

But they also had features that you don't get on these so called 'modern' systems. All Larkspur sets were fitted with operator heaters. They were so good that in winter even sets that weren't needed were switched on in order to keep the whole complex warm.... and not a drop of Kero needed! It was a little unfortunate during the summer but not all systems are perfect.

They had a systems that prevented the operator from inadvertently falling asleep. Firstly the fans were so noisy that not only couldn't you sleep, but the noise from the generator was un-noticable. Secondly the operator had to offer or answer a radio check every few minutes and do a complete retune every half an hour. If all that failed and your head did fall forward the final system would wake you up as the boom mic touched your lips the shock would wake you up. Larkspur gave a real meaning to the term 'Live Mic'!

They kept you fit. Retune involved twirling stiff tuning knobs at high speed from one end of the scale to the other, doing wonders for your upper body strength. Tuning antennas involved walking out to the mast to tune the antenna, or if you'd changed frequency on HF, climb the mast to change the length of the elevated whip because it was easier than dropping the mast and breaking your back putting it back up!

So the system worked and had many features that Clansman didn't.... so why did they change? Is Bowman a step too far to having lazy operators? Where has the sense of adventure gone from operating a radio? Am I getting too old? Who cares?

I'm off for a beer!
 
#11
PMSL@Plant-Pilot

Larkspur...bloody hell I almost forgot the fun. Pressing the tit while your mate runs around the front to tune the whip. Laugh? I nearly went to Ethiopia!

I like Bowman (at least I have been told I must say that). It is a charmless system, yes, but its bloody good at what it does.
 
#12
The question should be, can you get radio 1 on Bowman??

You used to be able to on a C42. You would think with all the advances in technology, you should be able to get television.
 
#13
DigitalGeek said:
PMSL@Plant-Pilot

Larkspur...bloody hell I almost forgot the fun. Pressing the tit while your mate runs around the front to tune the whip. Laugh? I nearly went to Ethiopia!
How can you forget the time when running a radio det was hard work, and tuning a radio was a 2 man job? I'm not even going to mention how many screwdrivers and limbs you needed to indulge in the the 'black art' of tuneing a C70!

Nightmares yes....... forget? Never.
 
#14
old_bloke said:
I love all those people who slag off the Corps. Even I have had the odd attack or two . Don’t give a toss now...

We are great, why?


Because ... 25.0.0.0 – 25.255.255.255


Give that man a medal.
Is that a wildcard mask?
 
#16
Great response.

NVIS in 1980's yes, but not as a mobile antenna on a vehicle. We used two masts a half
wave dipole a quarter of a wavelength off the ground, pure NVIS. Great. Add to that
a 43 foot whip for the groundwave, complete coverage. Not very practical and every frequency
change meant a change in antenna length. and not really tactical. Stop the vehicle we need to
communicate.
Combine the two into a small half loop on a vehicle same result on the move.
Thats tactical, thats practical, that maintains communications into and throughout the skipzone
on the move. That is a great asset. That is what is needed. The rest is antiquated antenna
technology in this day and age.



Waterlooville.
 
#18
Waterlooville said:
Claudios Agricola.

I said 8 miles not kms talk to the users not OPSEC. Talking tactical vehicle outwards
not base with dipoles, long wires and the likes.

Waterlooville.
Fella,
When we say OPSEC it is because we are hardly likely (if we knew or cared enough to talk about it at hometime) to discuss detailed specifications of the BOWMAN system. Due to the prevalence of journos and mad Russian spies, we are certainly not going to to strike up a secret conversation with a brand new user who refers to The Sigs as "The Signal Corps" :roll:
 
#19
Waterlooville said:
Claudios Agricola.

I said 8 miles not kms talk to the users not OPSEC. Talking tactical vehicle outwards
not base with dipoles, long wires and the likes.

Waterlooville.
Vehicle HF Communications is not a problem, it is so good the users are asking for more.

So what precisely is your agenda?
 
#20
Wow !! there are some good experts out there on antenna & propogation and yes, you are right, it is a black art that is sadly dying out. Clansman is not dead, yet, we have a Squadron full of it, mostly in good working order and those few with the skills, can still get round the world. Yes it is cumbersome, noisy, uses lots of real estate for the dipoles, but it goes anywhere, and I have seen some brilliant improvised masts, fences, kettles, etc, and it still works.

If you get the electic string singing, everyone is happy. More reliable than Ptamigan at times
 
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